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Congaree Swamp National Monument

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Hopkins, South Carolina

Exploring Congaree Swamp

See the park's natural wonders afoot or by canoe. Afoot Colored marakers make the park's six trails easy to follow. The popular Weston Lake loop trail is a 4.6-mile loop through scenic floodplains. The elevated boardwalk provides wheelchair access to Weston Lake and foot access to other loop trails. Naturalist-guided walks are offered; check at the visitor center. Group tours may be prearranged. By canoe A marked canoe trail invites you to explore Cedar Creek; see canoe access points on the map. Bring your own canoe and life preservers. Canoes may be rented in the Columbia area. Contact the park for advice on camping permits if you are planning an overnight river trip.

A great blue heron glides above Congaree Swamp's forest canopy. Ample river silts from frequent floods nourish big trees and abundant wildlife. JPG -- Blue heron.

Naturalist-led programs will help you learn about this park and its important role in saving a remnant of floodplain forests once abundant throughout the South. JPG -- Naturalist group.

The Congaree River forms a small link in a river system whose watershed drains much of South Carolina. Dams created lakes that drowned many forests like these. JPG -- State map.

Canoeists can explore parts of the park whose hiking conditions would limit those traveling afoot. There is a marked canoe trail on Cedar Creek. JPG -- Man in canoe.

Commonly known as Congaree Swamp, the Congaree floodplain has an elevation change of only 10 feet in more than 13 miles. Minimal topographic gradient causes the Congaree River to meander and to form great looping bends. JPG -- Forest floodplain.

Special adaptations enable many floodplain plants to survive periodic flooding. JPG -- Swamp flower.

Information and safety

The park is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except December 25. Obtain information at the ranger station (see map) and enjoy hiking, fishing, canoeing, or primitive camping. To ensure safety for all visitors, bicycles or motor vehicles are not allowed on trails. Pets All pets must be kept on a leash and off the boardwalks. Fishing A South Carolina fishing license is required. Minnows are prohibited. Camping A free permit is required. Fires are prohibited except in designated locations. Regulations The following are not permitted: littering, firearms, digging bait, picking wildflowers, and disturbing wildlife. Information Write to:

        Congaree Swamp National Monument
        200 Caroline Sims Road
        Hopkins, SC 29061

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